Osculum Infame

I really have no idea why Osculum Infame signed to supreme-wimp/loser label Mordgrimm. They are too much of an impressive band to be stuck in a label that will attempt to treat them like a commodity...but I am probably wrong, so no matter. This is the band's first CD, and the most mainstream of any of their releases. I've never heard their first demo, but the two following that were most excellent raw black metal with loads of atmosphere. This on the other hand is soaked and synth.

Is it good though? Yes! Actually, it's really quite impressive. This has strangely enough turned into one of my favourite releases from this year. Although the demos were much more underground in sound, OI have kept the hateful and cranky feel of those earlier releases, mixed with additional keyboards and production. Although I've heard cries of "sellout" and whatnot from various people, this is not true. The sound is still quite exceptionally evil and there's no real sections that would appeal to the general (and mindless) Cradle of Filth groupie (monetary) foundation of the scene.

The two standout tracks, "Under the Sign of the Beast", and "Whisper of the Witch" (from their split with Funeral) are actually very addictive. Yes, addictive, as in they end up being listened to over and over. "Under the Sign of the Beast" starts with some sombre keyboard work, and then moves into an exceptionally well done "triumphant" beat. The musical sections here are quite catchy actually, and are wonderfully filled with emotion, something a good deal of bands have forgotten about it seems. On the other hand, "Whisper of the Witch", even though having lost it's original raw and fuzzy production, is still quite hateful sounding. Somewhat fast paced and filled with painful screams, and really well done.

I would have improved on a few things though. The first being the vocals, which have become somewhat flat sounding. They don't seem to be quite as pushed as they once were, although that could possibly be blamed on the production. The next is the lack of a solid guitar sound. It sticks out nicely in a few tracks, but is generally lost in a wave of fuzz in exchange for the synth work. That's really it though! I highly recommend picking this near-masterpiece up. Osculum Infame are a group that can be heavily respected for their great music, and also for their proud ideological beliefs. They are not a pathetic lot of individuals, like so many that fill today's scene. Rather, they are an excellent band that create excellent music. A diamond in a scene filled with so much shit.

1997 brand